Do schools need community interpreters?
Every year, families abroad make the tough decision to leave home. Ready to sacrifice what “normal” means to them, their hope is found in a foreign country where their mother tongue is not the native language. The United States provides an abundance of opportunities; specifically, in education. Many are attracted to America’s illustrious education system, from kindergarten to high school, to the higher education of college to medical or law school. After all, what parent wouldn’t want the chance at a better life for their children?
With a rather steady trend in immigrant students studying abroad to complete their education, international schools have been growing in popularity and support. However, at traditional public schools across the country, the problem lies in the fact that students who are learning English as a second language (ESL) often trail significantly behind their English-speaking classmates. Although ELS, or English language service programs, are a popular and widely offered option, without proper community and business interpreter training integrated in schools, this detrimental gap in understanding will only continue to hinder students’ academic and personal growth.
Interpretation is simply the oral translation of speech or sign from a language into another. Objectively, a professional interpreter would want to convey every semantic element and tone, intention, or feeling of the source language’s message to the target language of the recipients. In order for public schools to begin catering towards a growing audience of international or ESL students, public schools should turn to hiring community interpreters for different languages. If interpreters are hard to come across, schools can even begin to offer Business and Community interpreter training programs or Community interpreting classes. Not only is the job important for trans-national language communication, but for students who are deaf or hard of hearing, or require IEP’s (individualized education plans). Even with events like parent-teacher conferences, interpreting would create a flow of information easy to understand, and be beneficial to the student, teacher, and parent. A skilled community interpreter can easily remedy missed or misunderstood information with the proper relay of information from the target source to target audience: the students.
Besides education, a student’s school life can often involve multiple facets. Community Interpreters would also enable a deeper connection between the student and the school, be it through understanding what the student is struggling with, or being able to communicate any problems to the teacher. Abuse or neglect isn’t unheard of, and protecting the general welfare and safety of the students is the school’s responsibility. Without clear communication, problems will be left unaware and untouched. Likewise, with the parents, an outlet of communication where their child feels safe and understood allows the parent to trust the school. This establishes a three way connection between the school or teacher, parent, and student.
Interpretation is not only beneficial, but will soon become a necessity as more and more international students enroll in public schools and universities around the country.
An Interpreter Training Program is the first step in becoming a Community Interpreter, and there are many options for those interested in pursuing this extremely rewarding career. Prepare for success as an interpreter in your community, and get the necessary, in person training in order to pass interpreter qualification exams with our Medical Interpreter Training, Business & Community Interpreter Training and Legal Interpreter Training Programs.
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